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The Airmen's Stories - P/O H J Mann


Harold John Mann joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his initial training on 6th March 1939. He did his elementary flying training at No. 1 E&RFTS Hatfield.

Mann moved to 10 FTS Ternhill for No. 12 Course, which ran from 10th July to 9th December 1939. With the course completed he joined 236 Squadron at Martlesham Heath on 16th December.



Mann was posted to 222 Squadron at Duxford on 9th February 1940 and he may have served briefly with 253 Squadron at Kenley in early May.

Mann joined No. 1 Squadron in France on 10th May 1940. The ORB for 9th June 1940 recorded:

Eleven aircraft ( 6 ‘B’ Flight, 5 ‘A’ Flight ) led by F/Lt. Warcup took off at 0415 hours for MAUDIE ( DREUX). After refuelling, the eleven aircraft took off to patrol between VERNON and POINT DE L’ ARCHE at 22.000 feet.

P/O Mann sighted what he thought to be a formation of about 27 enemy aircraft 10,000 feet below travelling north towards ROUEN up the SEINE.

He tried to draw the attention of Red Leader of ‘A’ Flight by waggling his wings, owing to faulty R/T. This signal was aknowledged but the leader failed to see the enemy aircraft due to Blue Leader being in front. P/O Mann dived towards the enemy formation for recognition purposes at first, and recognising them to be enemy bombers he climbed towards the sun and then dived to attack a straggler.

As his attack commenced, the enemy aircraft turned and Mann carried out a slight deflection shot with no immediate apparent result ; after breaking away, the port engine of the enemy aircraft was observed to be emitting black smoke. As Mann turned to prepare for a second attack, he saw 9 or 10 Me110s approaching in a wide circle on his port beam with a view to attacking his tail. Mann immediatly turned towards them And at the same time one Me110 came into his sights and he gave him a burst with no result. After seeing four or five Me’s on his tail, he broke away and returned, landing at CHARTRES due to shortage of petrol, later joining his squadron at ROBSON (Beaumont le Roger). No hits were sustained on our aircraft.

Mann was still serving with No. 1 Squadron at Tangmere in early July 1940. On the 11th he shared in the destruction of a Me110 of 9/ZG76 with F/O DC MacCaw and Sgt. C Parkinson of 238 Squadron, also based at Tangmere.

The enemy aircraft made a forced-landing at Grange Heath, near Lulworth. Mann claimed a Me109 destroyed over Martlesham Heath on 15th August and two Me110s damaged on the 30th.

He was posted to 96 Squadron when it was formed at Cranage on 18th December 1940 from 422 Flight for the night defence of Liverpool.

His subsequent service is currently undocumented until he was released from the RAF in 1950 as a Flight Lieutenant.



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